|PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Houston kicker Brown's record-setting day earns respect of teammates|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 11 October 2007 11:36|
He enjoyed all the praise, but it was what defensive end N.D. Kalu said that made his day.
``I've always had something against kickers and punters being called football players, but he's definitely a football player,'' Kalu said.
``That's the biggest compliment I think I can get from my teammates,'' a beaming Brown said. ``When somebody says that, that brings a big smile to my face.''
Brown is the only kicker in Texans history and one of only six original Texans remaining on the roster. He holds numerous records for his kicking in college at Nebraska. But perhaps his pride in Kalu's comment comes from a mind-set developed playing both quarterback and kicker at Southlake Carroll High School.
He led Southlake, one of the most successful high school programs in the nation, to the 1993 Texas state championship.
``Ten years ago the thought was the kicker was the lonely guy, isolated away from the team and I felt like I brought a different attitude to the position,'' he said. ``I wasn't just a placekicker and a lot of times I think that's where that came from. The kicker was a guy where that was the only position he had ever played and hadn't known anything else.''
With his days at quarterback far behind him, Brown has established himself as one of the most consistent kickers in the NFL this season. He's tied for the NFL lead with 13 field goals this season and has missed just once.
Before Sunday's game, no one in the NFL had kicked a field goal longer than 53 yards. He set a team record with his 54-yarder in the second quarter on Sunday and made another of the same length in the third quarter. Then he quickly broke his own record with the winner from 57 yards, his career long. His longest kick before Sunday was 55 yards in 2001 with Pittsburgh.
Coach Gary Kubiak said the historical significance of Brown's performance still hasn't completely sunk in with him.
``I've had a hard time even trying to understand it,'' Kubiak said. ``I'd be surprised if we ever see that again, much less when we see it again. It's just kind of a privilege to watch something like that and what the kid accomplished, and everybody's really happy for him.''
Kubiak said Brown came to his office on Monday specifically to make sure the players who blocked for him on the 57-yard field goal get game balls.
``He's a good kid, very humble,'' Kubiak said. ``All he's worried about since he did it is the guys who were blocking for him. That tells you what kind of kid he is.''
He also hit two shorter kicks in the 22-19 win and did it with an injured plant foot after hurting it on the opening kickoff. He said the pain was so intense in the second quarter he could barely walk. He got a pain injection in his heel for the first time in his career at halftime.
When he lined up for the winning kick, he didn't know how long it was. Turns out he likely could have made it from even farther. Special teams coach Joe Marciano saw Houston's mascot Toro standing behind in the end zone ``going nuts'' as the kick sailed through. So he asked him where it landed.
``It probably would have been good from 63,'' Marciano said. ``I asked Toro. I put a call into Toro and (he) said it was at least 5 yards past.''
Marciano said he didn't realize Brown was the first to kick three field goals that long in one game until Kubiak pointed it out in a meeting this week.
``That's a pretty big deal,'' Marciano said. ``When it's something that's never been done in the history, that's WOW.''
Brown and two other kickers are tied for the NFL lead in scoring with 50 points. But Brown's points mean a little more than most scores.
Through ``Kris Brown's Kick Club,'' Brown, his wife Amy and corporate sponsors donate $250 for each point he scores to help the families of children with cancer at Texas Children's Hospital. Brown said the organization has raised almost $500,000 since its inception in 2003.
``For me to go out and score points for our team is really important,'' he said. ``But not only do those points help our team win, but those points raise money for families at the hospital.''
Brown's inspiration for the program came from the experience of his sister April being diagnosed with cancer when she was 11 and he was 13. His sister recovered and remains in remission.
``I got to see firsthand what something like that can really do to a family - financially, emotionally - and with my sister physically with some of the things she had to go through,'' he said.
The big game against Miami was a great way to bounce back after Brown missed from 25 yards in the fourth quarter of last week's loss to Atlanta. The nine-year veteran said early in his career he would have dwelled on the miss, but that experience has taught him to have a short memory.
``That's the great thing about this game,'' he said. ``The next week you get to go out and prove yourself again.''